Southern California breaking news and trends

LAPD: A dozen unsolved homicides may be linked to the Manson family

APTOPIX Charles Manson

California Department of Corrections/AP

A photo provided by the California Department of Corrections shows serial killer Charles Manson Wed., April 4, 2012.

Los Angeles police revealed Thursday that the department is actively investigating 12 unsolved homicides that may be linked to the Manson family.

The L.A. Times reports that the details of the dozen cases have been withheld, but that police were probing the decades-old cases because they were committed in areas the "family" was known to operate.

The announcement of the open investigations coincides with legal action to obtain audio tapes from 1969 that may hold clues about additional murders.

Officials have so far been unsuccessful in acquiring the eight cassette tapes, which are believed to contain hours of conversation between Manson follower Charles "Tex" Watson — currently serving a life sentence for his role in killings — and his late attorney.

Access to the tapes was blocked in early October when a Texas judge prevented the LAPD from executing a search warrant at the office that houses the tapes. The search warrant approach was taken after a previous ruling granting review of the tapes was stalled by an appeal from Watson's attorney, the Times reports.


Manson family recordings may hold clues to unsolved killings

APTOPIX Charles Manson

California Department of Corrections/AP

Charles Manson. A judge will decide whether to release "Manson family" audio tapes to Los Angeles police.

A judge is set to rule today on whether a collection of Manson family member recordings will be turned over to Los Angeles authorities.

Officials believe the tapes may hold clues to unsolved killings.

The Texas hearing involves audio recordings of conversations between Manson family member Charles "Tex" Watson and his attorney.

Watson, who previously made the tapes available to the co-author of his 1978 book "Will You Die for Me?," is currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders.

The tapes were part of the estate of now-deceased Texas lawyer Bill Boyd. Los Angeles authorities say they received a tip that the recordings, and other items, may include information pertaining to unsolved cases. 

Police say they have no specific information on what the recordings contain, however, the Associated Press reports.


Charles Manson denied parole, will be 92 next time he's eligible

APTOPIX Charles Manson

California Department of Corrections/AP

Charles Manson skipped a hearing Wednesday where the mass murderer was denied parole for the 12th time. He will not be eligible for another parole hearing until he is 92-years-old.

Decades after the murder of actress Sharon Tate and six others, Tate's sister Debra is still attending the hearings, saying, "I've been doing it for Sharon and the other victims of him for the last 40 years.''

While serving a life sentence at Corcoran State Prison, Manson has repeatedly not attended parole hearings and has refused psychological evaluations. He does, however, approve select requests from visitors who want to see him.

Guards found a smuggled cell phone in Manson's quarters earlier this year -- his second offense since 2009. Calls were traced to California, New Jersey, Florida, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Indiana, and British Columbia but authorities did not disclose recipient names. He also was recently cited for having a homemade weapon.


Charles Manson photo released ahead of parole hearing

APTOPIX Charles Manson

California Department of Corrections/AP

A parole hearing is scheduled for 77-year-old serial killer Charles Manson later this month.

The California Department of Corrections has released a new photograph of a long-haired and aged Charles Manson that shows the convicted cult killer with a white beard and still-visible, decades-old swastika scar on his forehead. 

The photo, reportedly taken last June, was released ahead of the 77-year-old's 12th parole hearing, scheduled for next week. The last image released showed the infamous inmate with a buzzcut.

Manson is serving a life sentence at Corcoran State Prison for the killings of seven people, including the gruesome 1969 death of pregnant actress Sharon Tate. 

In January prison guards found a smuggled cellular phone in Manson's jail cell. It was the second time since 2009 that a phone had been found in his quarters.

The L.A. district attorney’s office said it would vigorously oppose the release of the mass murderer, according to KPCC's Patt Morrison show. Manson was originally sentenced to death, however the 1972 ruling was changed in 1977 when the death penalty law was found to be unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court.